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Westmount security removes candidate's election signs during election

posted by dru Geography: Quebec Montreal, Westmount Topics: elections

October 23, 2008

Westmount security removes candidate's election signs during election

Election signs get defaced and destroyed at an unparalleled rate in Montreal... but this is the first time I've heard of city officials taking part.

The Communist Party had some election signs up, with slogans like "Canada out of Afghanistan" and "End Canadian Support for Israeli Apartheid". Apparently, Westmount officials took them down.

If this is true, then Westmount has really stepped in it. Defacing or removing election signs is a criminal offense.


The press release:

Westmount on warpath against Communist candidate’s election posters

On September 28 & 29 2008, Westmount Public Security removed election posters of Communist Party of Canada candidate BILL SLOAN from public poles in the riding of WESTMOUNT-VILLE-MARIE.

The recently posted signs, duly Authorized by the registered agent of the Party, put forward his positions on Canadian policy concerning Afghanistan and Israel. In one case, "CANADA OUT OF AFGHANISTAN" and the other, "END CANADIAN SUPPORT TO APARTHEID ISRAEL".

The signs were removed by the Westmount administration without giving either the candidate or the Party notice, either before or after the removal. Bill Sloan learned of the City’s actions when the Westmount Independent published a note in its October 7-8, 2008 issue, mentioning that "Offensive" posters had been taken down by Westmont public security

" I called their public security on October 9 and spoke to the Director, Mr. Richard Blondin. He confirmed that his service had indeed removed my posters on September 28 and 29, but did not tell me what they had done with them. He declined to explain for what reasons or under what authority they had acted."

" The next day I read a press release from Marc Garneau, Liberal candidate in the riding where he joins the Canadian Jewish Congress in denouncing the election campaign of the Communist Party of Canada, and alleges that my signs ‘may be’ illegal because of their content !"

"This is ridiculous." said Sloan, "The electoral allows an advertising message that promotes or opposes a registered party or the election of a candidate, including one that takes a position on an issue with which a registered party or candidate is associated.

" They were so sure of themselves that they filed a report with the Montreal Police (SPVM), leaving them a pair of each of the ‘offending’ posters. As though I were the criminal. Adding insult to injury."

"This is a flagrant violation of freedom of expression, which the Supreme Court reminds us is at its most precious during an election campaign."

"These shameful acts, committed not by anonymous vandals, but by a public authority, must be punished and remedied in a public fashion."

= 30 =

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There is so much cynical

There is so much cynical discussion about democracy during election campaigns. I have seen a press release from Marc Garneau that he completely agrees with the actions of the city to remove the signs. I submit that this shows his commitment to real democracy which is Okay as long as you agree with him.

These signs whether you agree with the content or not are legitimate expressions of a candidate's or political party's positions on matters of state. We must allow for dissenting opinions or our so-called democratic system is simply a sham